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Calendar for May 1st, 2014

May Day

Ancient spring rites that related human fertility to crop fertility gave birth to most modern May Day festivities. May 1 is the traditional day to crown the May queen, dance around the maypole, perform mummers' plays, and generally celebrate the return of spring. Although our Pilgrim fathers were horrified by these reminders of a pagan past and outlawed all such activities, the maypole dance remains an enduring event. In Great Britain, the custom of "bringing in the May" involves gathering "knots," or branches with buds, on the eve or early morning of May 1. In England, a favorite branch is hawthorn. In Scotland and Wales, people choose the rowan, or mountain ash. In North America, we often select forsythia, lilac, or pussy willow branches to bring spring and the prospect of new life into our homes.

Every Year

  • Month of MayMay is named for the Roman goddess Maia, who oversaw the growth of plants.

  • Lei Day

  • Law Day (United States)

  • 1570s

  • Died 1572: Pope Pius V

  • 1700s

  • 1707: Great Britain formed

  • 1760s

  • Born 1764: Benjamin Henry Latrobe (architect)

  • 1870s

  • Died 1873: Dr. David Livingstone (explorer, missionary)

  • 1880s

  • 1885: Electric streetlights installed in Ottawa, Ontario

  • 1910s

  • Born 1916: Glenn Ford (actor)

  • Born 1918: Jack Paar (entertainer)

  • 1920s

  • Born 1923: Joseph Heller (novelist)

  • 1930s

  • 1931: The Empire State Building was dedicated in New York City

  • 1940s

  • Born 1944: Rita Coolidge (singer)

  • Born 1946: Joanna Lumley (actress)

  • 1950s

  • 1950: Gwendolyn Brooks became the first African American to win a Pulitzer Prize

  • 1960s

  • 1961: Harper Lee won Pulitzer Prize for her novel, To Kill a Mockingbird

  • Died 1965: Spike Jones (band leader, musician, & comedian)

  • 1967: Elvis Presley married Priscilla Beaulieu in Las Vegas

  • Born 1967: Tim McGraw (country singer)

  • 1990s

  • Born 1997: Ariel Gade (actress)

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